Keep Calm and Know What You’re Up Against

by Whatsblem the Pro


They say that knowledge is power, and that you should keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. For your empowerment, presents the specific rules in use on the playa by law enforcement officers for dealing with YOU, burner. Take a good look, and if you’re at all worried about police encounters in Black Rock City, print a copy off so you can refer to it when the other Man tries to overstep his boundaries. . . but as always, school yourself on what to say — and what not to say — when you’re stopped, and never insist on your rights to the point of combativeness; if they violate yours, document everything and settle it later, with Internal Affairs, or in court.

A Notice by the Land Management Bureau on 07/25/2013

Publication Date:

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Department of the Interior

Bureau of Land Management


The temporary closure and temporary restrictions will be in effect from August 12, 2013 to September 16, 2013.

Effective Date:


Entry Type:




Document Citation:

78 FR 44965


44965 -44969 (5 pages)

Agency/Docket Numbers:

LLNVW03000.L51050000.EA0000. LVRCF1302280 241A

MO# 4500051988


TAS: 14X5017

Document Number:


Shorter URL: 




Notice is hereby given that under the authority of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, as amended (FLPMA), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Winnemucca District, Black Rock Field Office, will implement and enforce a temporary closure and temporary restrictions to protect public safety and resources on public lands within and adjacent to the Burning Man event on the Black Rock Desert playa. 


  • DATES:
  • Mount Diablo Meridian
  • I. Temporary Restrictions
  • A. Aircraft Landing
  • B. Alcohol
  • C. Drug Paraphernalia
  • D. Disorderly Conduct
  • E. Eviction of Persons
  • F. Fires
  • G. Fireworks
  • H. Motor Vehicles
  • I. Public Camping
  • J. Public Use
  • K. Waste Water Discharge
  • L. Weapons


The temporary closure and temporary restrictions will be in effect from August 12, 2013 to September 16, 2013.


Gene Seidlitz, BLM District Manager, Winnemucca District, 5100 E. Winnemucca Blvd., Winnemucca, NV 89445-2921, telephone: 775-623-1500, email: Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to contact the above individual during normal business hours. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with the above individual. You will receive a reply during normal hours.


The temporary closure and temporary restrictions affect public lands within and adjacent to the Burning Man event permitted on the Black Rock Desert playa within the Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area in Pershing County, Nevada. The legal description of the affected public lands in the temporary public closure area is:

Mount Diablo Meridian

T. 33 N., R. 24 E., unsurveyed,

Sec. 1, that portion lying northwesterly of East Playa Road;

Sec. 2, that portion lying northwesterly of East Playa Road;

Sec. 3;

Sec. 4, that portion lying southeasterly of Washoe County Road 34;

Sec. 5;

Sec. 8, NE1/4;

Sec. 9, N1/2;

Sec. 10, N1/2;

Sec. 11, that portion of the N1/2lying northwesterly of East Playa Road.

T. 331/2N., R. 24 E., unsurveyed,

Secs. 25, 26, and 27;

Sec. 28, that portion lying easterly of Washoe County Road 34;

Sec. 33, that portion lying easterly of Washoe County Road 34;

Secs. 34, 35, and 36.

T. 34 N., R. 24 E., partly unsurveyed,

Sec. 23, S1/2;

Sec. 24, S1/2;

Secs. 25 and 26;

Sec. 27, E1/2NE1/4, E1/2SW1/4, SE1/4;

Sec. 33, NE1/4NE1/4, S1/2NE1/4, that portion of the SW1/4lying northeasterly of Washoe County Road 34, SE1/4;

Secs. 34, 35, and 36.

T. 33 N., R. 25 E.,

Sec. 4, that portion lying northwesterly of East Playa Road.

T. 34 N., R. 25 E., unsurveyed,

Sec. 16, S1/2;

Sec. 21;

Sec. 22, W1/2NW1/4, SW1/4;

Sec. 27, W1/2;

Sec. 28;

Sec. 33, that portion lying northwesterly of East Playa Road;

Sec. 34, that portion of the W1/2lying northwesterly of East Playa Road.

The temporary closure area comprises 14,153 acres, more or less, in Pershing County, Nevada.

The public closure is necessary for the period of time from August 12, 2013, through September 16, 2013, because of the Burning Man event activities in the area, starting with fencing the site perimeter, final setup, the actual event (August 25 through September 2), initial phases of cleanup, and concluding with final site cleanup.

The public closure area comprises about 13 percent of the Black Rock Desert playa. Public access to other areas of the playa will remain open and the other 87 percent of the playa outside the temporary closure area will remain open to dispersed casual use.

The event area is contained within the temporary closure area. The event area is defined as the portion of the temporary closure area (1) entirely contained within the event perimeter fence, including 50 feet from the outside of the event perimeter fence; and (2) within 25 feet from the outside edge of the event access road; and includes the entirety of the aircraft parking area outside the event perimeter fence.

The temporary closure and temporary restrictions are necessary to provide a safe environment for the participants of the Burning Man event and to members of the public visiting the Black Rock Desert, and to protect public land resources by addressing law enforcement and public safety concerns associated with the event. The event is expected to attract approximately 68,000 participants to a remote rural area, more than 90 miles from urban infrastructure and support, including law enforcement, public safety, transportation, and communication services. During the event, Black Rock City, the temporary city associated with the event, becomes the tenth-largest population area in Nevada. This event is authorized on public land under Special Recreation Permit #NVW03500-13-01.

While a majority of Burning Man event participants do not violate event rules or BLM rules and regulations, a few participants at previous events have caused law enforcement and public safety incidents similar to those observed in urban areas of similar-size populations. Incidents that have required BLM law enforcement action in prior years include: Aircraft crashes; motor vehicle accidents with injuries both within and outside the event perimeter; fights; sexual assault; assault on law enforcement officers; reckless or threatening behavior; crimes against property; crowd control issues; possession and unlawful use of alcoholic beverages; endangerment of themselves or others; possession, use, and distribution of controlled substances; and increased use of public lands outside the event perimeter.

The Burning Man event takes place within Pershing County, a rural county with a small population and a small Sheriff’s Department. Pershing County has limited ability to provide law enforcement officers to work at the event. The temporary closure and temporary restrictions are necessary to enable BLM law enforcement personnel to provide for public safety and to protect the environment on public lands, as well as to support State and local law enforcement agencies with enforcement of existing laws.

Use of the Black Rock playa by up to 68,000 participants creates potential impacts to public resources associated with disposal of wastes and litter. Implementation of the temporary restrictions will increase interaction with and education of users by BLM law enforcement and educational staff which will indirectly increase appreciation and protection of the public resources.

A temporary closure and temporary restrictions order, under the authority of 43 CFR 8364.1, is appropriate for a single event. A temporary closure and temporary restrictions order is specifically tailored to the timeframe that is necessary to provide a safe environment for the public and for participants at the Burning Man event, and to protect public land resources while avoiding imposing restrictions that may not be necessary in the area during the remainder of the year.

The BLM will post information signs and maps about the temporary closure and temporary restrictions at main entry points around the playa, at the BLM Winnemucca District Office, at the Nevada State Office, and at the Black Rock Visitor Center and on the BLM’s Web site:

Under the authority of Section 303(a) of FLPMA, 43 CFR 8360.0-7, and43 CFR 8364.1, the BLM will enforce a temporary public closure and the following temporary restrictions within and adjacent to the Burning Man event on the Black Rock Desert playa:

I. Temporary Restrictions

A. Aircraft Landing

The public closure area is closed to aircraft landing, taking off, and taxiing. Aircraft is defined in Title 18, U.S.C., section 31 (a)(1) and includes lighter-than-air craft and ultra-light craft. The following exceptions apply:

1. All aircraft operations, including ultra-light and helicopter landings and takeoffs will occur at the designated 88NV Black Rock City Airport landing strips and areas defined by airport management. All takeoffs and landings will occur only during the hours of operation of the airport as described in the Burning Man Operating Plan. All pilots that use the Black Rock City Airport must agree to and abide by the published airport rules and regulations.

2. Only helicopters providing emergency medical services may land at the designated Emergency Medical Services helicopter pad or at other locations when required for medical incidents. The BLM authorizing officer or his delegated representative may approve other helicopter landings and takeoffs when deemed necessary for the benefit of the law enforcement operation.

3. Landings or takeoffs of lighter-than-air craft previously approved by the BLM authorized officer.

B. Alcohol

1. Possession of an open container of an alcoholic beverage by the driver or operator of any motorized vehicle, whether or not the vehicle is in motion, is prohibited.

2. Possession of alcohol by minors

(a) The following are prohibited:

(1) Consumption or possession of any alcoholic beverage by a person under 21 years of age on public lands.

(2) Selling, offering to sell, or otherwise furnishing or supplying any alcoholic beverage to a person under 21 years of age on public lands.

3. Operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence

(a) Title 43 CFR 8341.1(f)3 prohibits the operation of an off-road motor vehicle on public land while under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, or dangerous drugs.

(b) In addition to the prohibition found in subsection (f)3, it is prohibited for any person to operate or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while:

(1) The operator is under the combined influence of alcohol, a drug, or drugs to a degree that renders the operator incapable of safe operation of that vehicle; or

(2) The alcohol concentration in the operator’s blood or breath is 0.08 grams or more of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or 0.08 grams or more of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.

(3) It is unlawful for any person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle on a highway or on premises to which the public has access with an amount of a prohibited substance in his or her urine or blood that is equal to or greater than the following nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml):

(a) Amphetamine: urine, 500 ng/ml; blood, 100 ng/ml

(b) Cocaine: urine, 150 ng/ml; blood, 50 ng/ml

(c) Cocaine metabolite: urine, 150 ng/ml; blood, 50 ng/ml

(d) Heroin: urine, 2,000 ng/ml; blood, 50 ng/ml

(e) Heroin metabolite:

(1) Morphine: urine, 2,000 ng/ml; blood, 50 ng/ml

(2) 6-monoacetyl morphine: urine, 10 ng/ml; blood, 10 ng/ml

(f) Lysergic acid diethylamide: urine, 25 ng/ml; blood, 10 ng/ml

(g) Marijuana: urine, 10 ng/ml; blood, 2 ng/ml

(h) Marijuana metabolite: urine, 15 ng/ml; blood, 5 ng/ml

(i) Methamphetamine: urine, 500 ng/ml; blood, 100 ng/ml

(j) Phencyclidine: urine, 25 ng/ml; blood, 10 ng/ml

(c) Tests:

(1) At the request or direction of any law enforcement officer authorized by the Department of the Interior to enforce this closure and restriction order, who has probable cause to believe that an operator of a motor vehicle has violated a provision of paragraph (a) or (b) of this section, the operator shall submit to one or more tests of the blood, breath, saliva, or urine for the purpose of determining blood alcohol and drug content.

(2) Refusal by an operator to submit to a test is prohibited and proof of refusal may be admissible in any related judicial proceeding.

(3) Any test or tests for the presence of alcohol and drugs shall be determined by and administered at the direction of an authorized law enforcement officer.

(4) Any test shall be conducted by using accepted scientific methods and equipment of proven accuracy and reliability operated by personnel certified in its use.

(d) Presumptive levels

(1) The results of chemical or other quantitative tests are intended to supplement the elements of probable cause used as the basis for the arrest of an operator charged with a violation of paragraph (a) of this section. If the alcohol concentration in the operator’s blood or breath at the time of testing is less than alcohol concentrations specified in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, this fact does not give rise to any presumption that the operator is or is not under the influence of alcohol.

(2) The provisions of paragraph (d)(1) of this section are not intended to limit the introduction of any other competent evidence bearing upon the question of whether the operator, at the time of the alleged violation, was under the influence of alcohol, a drug or multiple drugs, or any combination thereof.

4. Definitions:

(a) Open container: Any bottle, can, or other container which contains an alcoholic beverage, if that container does not have a closed top or lid for which the seal has not been broken. If the container has been opened one or more times, and the lid or top has been replaced, that container is an open container.

(b) Possession of an open container includes any open container that is physically possessed by the driver or operator, or is adjacent to and reachable by that driver or operator. This includes but is not limited to containers in a cup holder or rack adjacent to the driver or operator, containers on a vehicle floor next to the driver or operator, and containers on a seat or console area next to a driver or operator.

C. Drug Paraphernalia

1. The possession of drug paraphernalia is prohibited.

2. Definition: Drug paraphernalia means all equipment, products and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of any state or Federal law, or regulation issued pursuant to law.

D. Disorderly Conduct

1. Disorderly conduct is prohibited.

2. Definition: Disorderly conduct means that an individual, with the intent of recklessly causing public alarm, nuisance, jeopardy, or violence; or recklessly creating a risk thereof:

(a) Engages in fighting or violent behavior.

(b) Uses language, an utterance or gesture, or engages in a display or act that is physically threatening or menacing, or done in a manner that is likely to inflict injury or incite an immediate breach of the peace.

(c) Obstructs, resists, or attempts to elude a law enforcement officer, or fails to follow their orders or directions.

E. Eviction of Persons

1. The public closure area is closed to any person who:

(a) Has been evicted from the event by the permit holder, Black Rock City LLC, (BRC LLC) whether or not the eviction was requested by the BLM.

(b) Has been ordered by a BLM law enforcement officer to leave the area of the permitted event.

2. Any person evicted from the event forfeits all privileges to be present within the perimeter fence or anywhere else within the public closure area even if they possess a ticket to attend the event.

F. Fires

The ignition of fires on the surface of the Black Rock playa without a burn blanket or burn pan is prohibited.

G. Fireworks

The use, sale or possession of personal fireworks is prohibited except for uses of fireworks approved by BRC LLC and used as part of a Burning Man sanctioned art burn event.

H. Motor Vehicles

1. Must comply with the following requirements:

(a) The operator of a motor vehicle must possess a valid driver’s license.

(b) Motor vehicles and trailers must possess evidence of valid registration, except for mutant vehicles, vehicles used by disabled drivers and displaying disabled driver license plates or placards, or other vehicles registered with the BRC LLC organizers and operated within the scope of that registration.

(c) Motor vehicles and trailers must possess evidence of valid insurance, except for mutant vehicles, vehicles used by disabled drivers and displaying disabled driver license plates or placards, or other vehicles registered with the BRC LLC organizers and operated within the scope of that registration.

(d) Motor vehicles and trailers must not block a street used for vehicular travel or a pedestrian pathway.

(e) Motor vehicles must not exceed the posted speed limit.

(f) No person shall occupy a trailer while the motor vehicle is in transit upon a roadway, except for mutant vehicles, vehicles used by disabled drivers and displaying disabled driver license plates or placards, or other vehicles registered with the BRC LLC organizers and operated within the scope of that registration.

(g) Motor vehicles, other than a motorcycle or golf cart, must be equipped with at least two working headlamps, except for mutant vehicles, vehicles used by disabled drivers and displaying disabled driver license plates or placards, or other vehicles registered with the BRC LLC organizers and operated within the scope of that registration—so long as they are adequately lit according to Black Rock City, LLC Department of Mutant Vehicle requirements.

(h) Motor vehicles, other than a motorcycle or golf cart, and trailers must be equipped with at least two functioning tail lamps, except for mutant vehicles, vehicles used by disabled drivers and displaying disabled driver license plates or placards, or other vehicles registered with the BRC LLC organizers and operated within the scope of that registration—so long as they are adequately lit according to Black Rock City, LLC Department of Mutant Vehicle requirements.

(i) Motor vehicles, other than a motorcycle or golf cart, and trailers must be equipped with at least two functioning brake lights.

(j) Motor vehicles and trailers must display an unobstructed rear license plate, except for mutant vehicles, vehicles used by disabled drivers and displaying disabled driver license plates or placards, or other vehicles registered with the BRC LLC organizers and operated within the scope of that registration.

(k) Motor vehicles and trailers must be equipped with a mounted lamp to illuminate the rear license plate, except for mutant vehicles, vehicles used by disabled drivers and displaying disabled driver license plates or placards, or other vehicles registered with the BRC LLC organizers and operated within the scope of that registration.

2. The public closure area is closed to motor vehicle use, except as provided below.

Motor vehicles may be operated within the public closure area under the circumstances listed below:

(a) Participant arrival and departure on designated routes;

(b) BLM, medical, law enforcement, and firefighting vehicles are authorized at all times;

(c) Vehicles operated by BRC LLC staff or contractors and service providers on behalf of BRC LLC. During the event, from 6:00 p.m. Sunday, August 25, 2013, through 6:00 p.m. Monday, September 2, 2013, these vehicles must display evidence of event registration at all times in such manner that it is visible to the rear of the vehicle while the vehicle is in motion;

(d) Mutant vehicles, art cars, vehicles used by disabled drivers and displaying disabled driver license plates or placards, or other vehicles registered with the BRC LLC organizers and operated within the scope of that registration. During the event, from 6:00 p.m. Sunday, August 25, 2013, through 6:00 p.m. Monday, September 2, 2013, such vehicles must display evidence of registration at all times in such manner that it is visible to the rear of the vehicle while the vehicle is in motion;

(e) Motorized skateboards, electric assist bicycles, or Go-Peds with or without handlebars;

(f) Participant drop off of approved burnables and wood to the Burn Garden/Wood Reclamation Stations (located on open playa at 3:00, 6:00, 9:00 Promenades and the Man base) from 9:00 a.m. Sunday, September 1, 2013 through the end of day Tuesday, September 3, 2013, post event; and

(g) Passage through, without stopping, the public closure area on the west or east playa roads.

3. Definitions:

(a) A motor vehicle is any device designed for and capable of travel over land and which is self-propelled by a motor, but does not include any vehicle operated on rails or any motorized wheelchair.

(b) Motorized wheelchair means a self-propelled wheeled device, designed solely for and used by a mobility-impaired person for locomotion.

(c) A trailer is any instrument designed to be hauled by a motor vehicle.

I. Public Camping

The public closure area is closed to public camping with the following exception: Burning Man event ticket holders who are camped in designated event areas provided by BRC LLC, and ticket holders who are camped in the authorized pilot camp. BRC LLC authorized staff, contractors, and BLM authorized event management related camps are exempt from this closure.

J. Public Use

The public closure area is closed to use by members of the public unless that person: is traveling through, without stopping, the public closure area on the west or east playa roads; possesses a valid ticket to attend the event; is an employee or authorized volunteer with the BLM, a law enforcement officer, emergency medical service provider, fire protection provider, or another public agency employee working at the event and the individuals are assigned to the event; is a person working at or attending theevent on behalf of BRC LLC; or is authorized by BRC LLC to be onsite prior to the commencement of the event for the primary purpose of constructing, creating, designing or installing art, displays, buildings, facilities or other items and structures in connection with the event; or is a commercial operation to provide services to the event organizers and/or participants authorized by BRC LLC through a contract or agreement and authorized by BLM through a Special Recreation Permit.

K. Waste Water Discharge

The dumping or discharge to the ground of gray water is prohibited. Gray water is water that has been used for cooking, washing, dishwashing, or bathing and contains soap, detergent, food scraps, or food residue.

L. Weapons

1. The possession of any weapon is prohibited except weapons within motor vehicles passing, without stopping, through the public closure area, on the west or east playa roads.

2. The discharge of any weapon is prohibited.

3. The prohibitions above shall not apply to county, state, tribal, and Federal law enforcement personnel, or any person authorized by Federal law to possess a weapon. “Art projects” that include weapons and are sanctioned by BRC LLC will be permitted after obtaining authorization from the BLM authorized officer.

4. Definitions:

(a) Weapon means a firearm, compressed gas or spring powered pistol or rifle, bow and arrow, cross bow, blowgun, spear gun, hand-thrown spear, sling shot, irritant gas device, electric stunning or immobilization device, explosive device, any implement designed to expel a projectile, switch-blade knife, any blade which is greater than 10 inches in length from the tip of the blade to the edge of the hilt or finger guard nearest the blade (e.g., swords, dirks, daggers, machetes), or any other weapon the possession of which is prohibited by state law. Exception: This rule does not apply in a kitchen or cooking environment or where an event worker is wearing or utilizing a construction knife for their duties at the event.

(b) Firearm means any pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, or other device which is designed to, or may be readily converted to expel a projectile by the ignition of a propellant.

(c) Discharge means the expelling of a projectile from a weapon.

Any person who violates the above rules and restrictions may be tried before a United States Magistrate and fined no more than $1,000, imprisoned for no more than 12 months, or both. Such violations may also be subject to the enhanced fines provided for at 18 U.S.C. 3571.


43 CFR 8364.1

Pershing County Cops and Federal Agents: Integrated and Synchronized

Welcome to our new post-PRISM world of high tech, syncrhonized, integrated LEOs.

The word coming from the Playa is that the cops are cracking down hard on Burning Man this year – so hard that some of the volunteer workers building the city are grumbling about a General Strike as a protest.

cops muggerThe Reno-Gazette Journal sheds some light on what is going on. “The Man did not abide by the county’s fee“, said NBC earlier this year. Burning Man tried to both defeat and go around Pershing County, objecting to increased fees with a lawsuit and political lobbying in the Nevada State legislature. Pershing County hit back, claiming a huge defeat over Burning Man. It seems they then approached the Feds with the argument that the only way they could effectively police Burning Man, was to join forces, and put State and Federal agents together in each car. A new boss for the BLM, a Chief of the Office of Professional Responsibility on-site at the command center (perhaps with a hotline to the judge for warrants). 2 cops from different agencies to witness what goes on; linked with sniffer dogs, night vision goggles, and other brand spanking new high tech equipment to their central command post near to the Black Rock Ranger Station. I guess the Federal Government trumps the State Government, even in the Wild West…

An estimated 68,000 people are anticipated to stream into the Black Rock Desert near Gerlach, Nev. for Burning Man beginning Sunday, and federal and state law enforcement agencies for the event said this year they are implementing a new integration to ensure the public’s safety.

“We have integrated resources and manpower out of need and because the population has grown,” Pershing County Sheriff Richard Machado said. “The population is to the point now that it’s imperative that we work together to manage this event.”

In previous years, each sector of law enforcement covered thier own agency jurisdictions and relied on the resources they brought out for the event. In addition to sharing resources this year, there will be one law enforcement command post in Black Rock City stationed near Burning Man’s Black Rock Ranger’s station and each vehicle will have a state officer and a federal officer to ensure they can respond to any incident at the event.

“We knew that we needed to take an internal look at this operation and we knew that integration was a key component of that,” the Bureau of Land Management Special Agent-In-Charge Dan Love said.

Love said they will staff 102 officers total for the event between the PCSO and the BLM. He said for every shift, 64 officers will be on duty on the playa and will rotate in overlapping shifts every 12 hours. Overall, he said, it’s a ratio of 1 officer to every 1,000 participants.

There will be 102 agents at Burning Man – not counting the snitches informants working in undercover stings. Underage drinking, underage sex, prostitution, drugs, serving food without a health permit…these are just some of the citatable offenses they are looking to trap Burners into, and then financially penalize them. For every shift there will be 64 officers on duty, equivalent to 1 per 1000 Burners. Pershing County was seeking an increase in fees to provide 1 agent for every 500 Burners, and now that they’ve integrated with the Federal Bureau of Land Management their overall ratio is about 1 per 600. We wonder if that means they will no longer be seeking increased money from Burning Man – or if the Feds are cutting them in for a share of their 3%. In 2012 Burning Man paid $2,483,836 to the Federal and local agencies.

Good news though Burners – the cops promise they won’t be performing any unwarranted searches. Yay! The Pershing County sheriff’s office said last year there was not a single illegal search and seizure (a violation of the Consitutional Fourth Amendment right, which protects United States Citizens, but may not apply to Burners travelling from other countries). They assure us that there won’t be any this year either – only those where there is “probable cause”. What is probable cause? That’s something decided by the LEOs on the spot, backed up by their department, and if you don’t like it, you can take it before the outspokenly anti-Burning Man local judge:

In 2012, there were about 350 arrests and citations during the event which included drug violations. Love said that they will use a variety of techniques to police the event and ensure compliance which includes K-9 canines and some searches where merited.

When it comes to searches of persons or vehicles conducted on the playa, Machado said that they are bound by certain laws and search and seizure limitations with what officers can and cannot do. He said they are not going to step out of the scope of that.

…“The Fourth Amendment, and all constitutional rights of the participants, is something that federal law enforcement, in conjunction with Pershing County, takes very seriously,” Love said. “Our Chief of Office of Professional Responsibility sits at the command post and reviews all reported participant incidents that could, or are, be reported as violations. I am unaware of any open cases deriving out of 2012 that have been met with merits or that are left open and pending an investigation.”

Both the BLM and PCSO work with Burning Man organizers to address participant complaints and issues that come up on a daily basis, and they hold a joint law enforcement meeting with BRC’s security representative. Love said that they address all the feedback that they receive from participants.

“It may be the perception that illegal searches are occurring during the event,” Love said. “From the law enforcement standpoint, the reality is that it’s an unfounded allegation that there are illegal searches taking place.”

Last year we had 22 arrests, 230 citations, and 441 verbal warnings. 102 cops, for 22 arrests. The arrest rate is 0.39 per 1000, or including citations 4.4 per 1000. So each cop has to issue 1 citation every 2 days, to maintain the standard of community policing provided in the past.

NBC Bay Area reports that the number of “pre-Burn” coppers has increased from 4 to 20, and the first stop for Burning Man visitors this year is a speed trap:

Many burners arriving to Black Rock City, NV were being greeted by law enforcement officers with sirens blaring.

imsexy copsHere are some reasons why burners say police pulled them over: 

  • Driving one mile over the posted 10 mph speed limit
  • Not using a blinker
  • License plate blocked by bike rack
  • License plate not illuminated

“In 18 years on the playa, I’ve never seen a more aggressive police presence than what’s been going down today,” read an Instagram post by Aaron Muszalski, aka SFSlim.

Muszalski, was the first to alert fellow burners to be aware when he posted a story showing one of the DPW vehicles, called El Couchino because it is an El Camino with a couch in the back, getting pulled over for a registration violation.

But that was just the tip of the iceberg.

“One DPW member was issued a $275 ticket for urinating on the playa, and threatened with being forced to register as a convicted sex offender,” Muszalski said.

There are always a lot of police from a number of different agencies visibly patrolling Black Rock City, but citations for lesser infractions appears to be new.

Some are speculating it has something to do with the fact that Burning Man has filed a lawsuit against Pershing County, Nevada over local government’s new fees for the event, from $180,000 in 2011 to over $600,000 in 2013.

Participants complaining about rampant law enforcement is nothing new at Burning Man, but this does seem to be a worse start to the event than anyone can remember in terms of likelihood of getting pulled over.

For many years, only four BLM officers were at the event in the week before it opened, and they enjoyed the event and came every year.  This year, because of the ramping number of people who arrive early, the initial number of early officers was to be 20, but that number may have gone down a little, according to someone with intimate knowledge of policing Burning Man, but who wanted to remain anonymous.

While the gates to Burning Man don’t officially open until 6 p.m. Sunday night, each year thousands of people get Early Arrival passes to come in to set up art, camps or to volunteer with the organization.

Wednesday night, as lightning struck the hills around Black Rock City, BLM officers waited at the T-junction after the Greeter’s Stations and pulled over numerous cars for any and all reasons.

Chances are, if you didn’t get pulled over, it was because the officers were busy with someone else.

This year, for the first time, BLM (Bureau of Land Management, a Federal agency that, according to their webpage “administers 264 million acres of public lands, located primarily in the 12 Western” and has Federal jurisdiction over the Black Rock Desert) officers will ride side-by-side with Pershing County Sheriffs, granting any and all jurisdictional rights in a stop.

On Friday, Burning Man posted a “Law Enforcement in Black Rock City” entry to their Burning Blog saying, “While Black Rock City is certainly a remote and freewheeling place, it’s also a functioning metropolis. And just like in any other city, law enforcement patrols BRC day and night to keep the city safe and compliant with the laws that allow us to have the event in the first place. So yes, any illegal action on your part can lead to a citation (more common) or your arrest (rare).”

Former special agent in charge for the BLM, Mark Pirtle, oversaw Burning Man for years but he recently retired so some are thinking the new regime may be a part of this new aggressive enforcement policy.

“It is often like this at the beginning, then it calms down once the gates open because there are just too many of us,” said one longtime burner artist who wanted to remain anonymous.

I wouldn’t put too much stock in “anonymous Burners” telling you “it’s often like this”. It’s never been like this before. The guy who used to run this for the BLM has retired. The new guy is looking to make his mark. There are all kinds of lawsuits going on between Burning Man, Burners, and the Nevada authorities. Burning Man tried to get the law changed, and this is the result. Pershing County is running the show. As far as I know, we’ve never remotely been in this situation before.

Is driving 1 MPH over the speed limit probable cause for a search of your vehicle? Or having a license plate that is not illuminated, or is blocked by a bike? Well, it certainly is if you consent to the search. Consent, and you waive your rights.

It seems that Pershing County is determined to get its money come hell or high water. They see a $23 million cake being baked on their lands, and they want a slice of it. If the cake gets bigger, they want their slice to get bigger. If they can’t get their money from the swollen coffers of BMOrg, then they will get it from the hurting pockets of individual Burners who have already spent thousands or more to get to the Playa. Mota Bota shares some personal stories about the kind of fines being given for these citations, and the way the police can exploit the “kid-friendly” nature of this extremely adult event to easily cash in:

What you must know is that Burning Man is a VERY SOPHISTICATED POLICE STATE, EXTENSIVELY PATROLLED and MONITORED by State and Federal Officers. They literally motor by your camp every twenty minutes looking for someone ‘anyone’ to bust.  Not to mention Camp Spies in costume and Special Operations sporting night vision goggles and underage shills.  And their interest is simple – they’re dying to give you a citation.  They could care less about what you’re doing, what they’re keen about is the ‘enormous’ amount of money generated by these citations, more citations = more money for State and Federal coffers.  If you go, check out their equipment, it will all be brand new and state of the art.  And who do you think pays for all of that personnel and equipment?  Ding! Ding! Ding! You guessed it, the ‘Burners’. And remember, neither Nevada nor the Federal Government will recognize your medical marijuana card.

Cops lined up at Burning Man.

Now fast forward to my last Burn in 2009.  In my camp alone a gentleman was busted for marijuana while driving within the Burning Man compound (the most dangerous place to drive).  He had a faulty taillight on his trailer and a pot tin on his dash.  The officers could’ve cared less about the taillight, but eagerly sighted him for the pot.  That citation was $675., to be paid within 45 days, and if not, a warrant would be issued, the infraction amount increased, and the citation would be part of his permanent record. My lovely neighbors across the street, a young working couple of 40 with toddlers at home, offered (like scads of others) a free bar.  They were visited by an under age shill from Special Operations and busted.  That citation was $1,500., to be paid in full within 45 days, with the same scenario as above.

Pershing County aren’t hogging all the action; Washoe County and the Nevada State Highway Patrol still have their own revenue streams jurisdictions too:

While regulating laws within BRC’s parameters are the responsibility of the BLM and PCSO, highways and roads leading to and from Burning Man are overseen by the Nevada Highway Patrol and the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office.

According to WCSO Public Information Officer Bob Harmon, WCSO staffs a minimum of 10 deputies and one sergeant for the event and their primary mission is to protect the safety of the public along the main roads leading into the event within Washoe County’s jurisdiction, including the towns of Gerlach and Empire.

“When heading out to the event, take your time and exercise patience,” Harmon said. “Don’t try to pass a long string of vehicles. A lot of motor vehicle accidents have happened because people were in a hurry to get to Black Rock City or get home. Make sure you are well rested. Never drive tired, drunk, or drugged and always obey posted speed limits.”

We also here that the Paiute Indians have dropped their speed limits ultra-low, so that their brand new pursuit vehicles can see some action.

Mota Bota has some good advice for all Burners. Let’s be careful out there!

So What Do You Do? 

1.  Make sure your vehicle is currently registered and all the lights are working properly.

2.  Never ‘ever’ go over the speed limit ‘anywhere’ (especially inside the BM compound).

3.  Don’t ‘at any time’ ride on top or outside of your car, and wear your seat-belt at all times accordingly.  The art cars will be excepted once they’re sanctioned.

4.  No open alcohol containers in your vehicle at any time, period.

5.  Never smoke pot in a public place – the world’s easiest bust via odor.

Relaxing at Burning Man.

6.  Never smoke pot in your car – even when parked, keep it in the tent.

 7.  If you’re going to do a free bar, ‘check IDs’ if you’re the ‘least’ bit suspicious of an underage drinker.

 8.  Know your rights, they still need probable cause to search your vehicle.

 9.  Never offer drugs to strangers – especially those two cute chicks, they’re narcs!

 10.  Keep any drugs concealed in route to BM – party when you get there.

11.  Use common sense and trust your gut, if someone seems cool, they probably are;  if they seem flaky, they probably are.  The neighbors you camp with will be the most trustworthy.


 13.  And lastly, go to ‘jackrabbitspeaks’ – this is the official e-mail site of Burning Man – and type ‘law enforcement’ in the subject column.  You can also check out ‘citations’ and ‘arrests’.  Read what Will Chase and the Burners have to say about law enforcement, because I’m sure I’ve missed a few things.

Our recommendation is, let’s kill this with kindness. Be nice and loving and friendly and happy to all the LEOs you encounter, smile and thank them, let all the new ones warm to us. They’re just doing their jobs, trying to make a living like many Burners do. They’ll realize once the party starts that everyone’s just there to have a good time…and if there are some seriously nasty hardened criminal types there, let’s all hope they get ’em.

Kentucky Fried Camp’s Packed U-Haul Stolen in the East Bay

by Whatsblem the Pro

The missing truck bears this design, #107 in U-Haul's "Venture Across America" series

The missing truck bears this design, #107 in U-Haul’s “Venture Across America” series

Kentucky Fried Camp, a group of mostly Kentuckians and San Franciscans originally from Kentucky, is a breakfast camp on the 3:00 Plaza whose gingham-clad crew of sixty souls serves fried baloney sandwiches with shots of bourbon, accompanied by compliments delivered via megaphone. KFC also holds an annual race in high heels known as the Whoreshoe Derby, and is planning a cotillion this year featuring Southern belles in electrically-illuminated hoop skirts.

Early this morning, their packed U-Haul truck was stolen, depriving the entire camp of critical gear for their stay on the playa.

“There has been an incredible outpouring of community support,” says Guy Shochat, a representative of the camp. “We already have a free loan of a Mutant Vehicle trailer, which we’ll need, since ours was attached when the truck was stolen. We’re very happy that the art car itself wasn’t on it at the time. We’ve been given a dome, some shade, tents, serving tables, and the equipment we’ll need to run our baloney kitchen. Cool Neon has kindly offered us EL wire at-cost, and a few burners have volunteered cash donations. We are hemorrhaging money buying new shade, water containers, and other necessary supplies. Sadly, our epic outhouse shower is gone, and we still need bicycles, air mattresses, costumes — waaaahh, lost costumes! — and hugs.”

Kentucky Fried Camp hasn’t just been deprived of the things they’ll need to take care of themselves on the playa, continues Shochat. “We give away ridiculous amounts of food and booze every year, without any fundraising. It all comes out of our pockets as internal contributions. This is the first time we’ve ever felt any need to ask for any kind of outside help at all. . . and I must say, the burners are coming through big for us so far. We are being kept very busy with the emergency purchase of things we need, as the money becomes available. Simple contributions like bikes and costumes delivered on playa will really help, and we will return them to you happily after the burn. We are picking up our custom smoked baloney now and breakfast will still happen!”

Shochat goes on to say that the response of the burner community so far has renewed his faith in humanity in general. “I went today from despondent to realizing that there are many more good people out there than bad,” he says with a twinkle in his eye.

The truck, which was parked in the East Bay area near San Francisco before it was apparently hot-wired and stolen, is a 17-foot U-Haul with an auto-transport trailer attached. The design on the side of the truck is U-Haul’s “Venture Across America” #107, which is based on Mississippi wildlife and features a picture of a Mississippi Sandhill Crane, a long-billed bird with a bright red head and white neck feathers. The truck bears Arizona license plate AB-89694.

“We’re struggling right now,” says Mick Jeffries, a compatriot of Shochat’s. “But people are rising to the occasion. Our biggest camp ever, over sixty people coming from both Kentucky and California, has lost everything. Any help spreading the word is most gratefully appreciated.”

If you spot the stolen truck, do not attempt to confront the occupants; assume they are armed and dangerous. Contact local law enforcement! If you tweet, you can also hashtag #KFCtheft to let the Kentucky Fried crew know that you’re on the case.

You can donate to the camp’s relief and make sure they’re out there serving up baloney and booze by sending your PayPal contribution to the KFC general fund at